Less Talked about Symptoms of Endometriosis
Last updated: April 2023
When we think about endometriosis symptoms, the first thing people think about is painful and heavy periods. It is true that endometriosis most commonly affects the uterus, resulting in heavy cramping and bleeding during menstruation, but those are not the only symptoms to look out for. It is possible to have endometriosis without common symptoms, which is why it is good to know what other - less common - symptoms might be.
Uncommon endo symptoms
If you have been suffering from bladder trouble, either because of UTIs or feeling the need to go to the toilet more often during your period, it could be because of endometriosis adhered to the bladder. This can also cause pain during urination and cramping in the bladder. It can happen especially during menstruation, as that is usually when the endometrial cells are most inflamed, but it can also act up any other time.
You may have heard of endo belly, the awful bloating that can happen during your period when you have endometriosis, but this is by no means the only gastrointestinal symptom of endometriosis. Often, endometriosis is misdiagnosed as IBS, because the symptoms can be similar. Apart from bloating, you can suffer from diarrhea, constipation and nausea. Endometriosis stuck to the bowel and stomach can cause bouts of vomiting during your period as well.
Back pain, especially when it radiates down to one or both legs, can also be a symptom of endometriosis. As you can imagine, endometriosis growing in the pelvis can attach itself to many nerves in that area. Back pain can be caused by this, especially if it originates in the pelvis, which then travels down to the legs. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as sciatica, but the culprit could be more sinister.
Upper body pain
Due to endometriosis in the diaphragm, some women can experience pain in the chest and shoulders. Sometimes, if the endometriosis on the diaphragm is especially bad, women can even experience breathing difficulties.
Acid reflux can be caused by endometriosis on the bowel. It may occur alongside other gastrointestinal symptoms, but sometimes it just occurs by itself. Because of this, doctors often overlook this symptom and prescribe anti-acids or a change of diet. Although a change of diet can be helpful to alleviate endometriosis symptoms, the underlying cause should be treated.
Endometriosis can cause an imbalance of hormones, which can bring a cause a lot of different issues. One of them is bad headaches, especially occurring during your period. Usually these headaches will lessen, or go away, when on the pill, as the hormones are regulated better.
Looking at the list above, it’s not really surprising that some cases of endometriosis are misdiagnosed. But it also highlights how much education there still needs to be among doctors, so they can be aware of these lesser-known symptoms and suspect endometriosis if all other treatments for them has failed.
If you suspect you have endometriosis and are suffering from any of the symptoms above, do talk to your doctor and share your suspicions. Sometimes all it needs is a nudge from you.
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